India, Australian Defence Ministers discuss emerging regional issues

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met his Australian counterpart Peter Dutton in Delhi on Friday and discussed defence cooperation as well as emerging regional issues.

“Both sides agree to work jointly to realise full potential of India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership based on shared vision of a free, open, inclusive and rule-based Indo-Pacific region,” a Defence Ministry statement said.

Rajnath Singh said that he had a fruitful and wide-ranging discussion with Dutton on bilateral defence cooperation as well as regional issues.

“Both of us are keen to work jointly to realise the full potential of the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

“Both Australia and India have tremendous stake in peace, development and free flow of trade, rules-based order and economic growth in the region,” he said.

He said that their discussions focused on bilateral defence cooperation and expanding military engagements across services, enhancing defence information sharing, cooperation in emerging defence technologies, and mutual logistics support.

Both sides noted with happiness that Australia joined the Malabar Exercise in 2020.

“In this context we also expressed satisfaction in the continued participation of Australia in Malabar Exercise this year,” Rajnath Singh said.

He apprised Dutton about India’s recent efforts towards “Atmanirbhar Bharat” and growing innovation ecosystem in India.

“We discussed opportunities to work together in defence science and technology areas,” he said, inviting the Australian industry to take advantage of India’s liberalised foreign direct investment policies in the defence sector.

“We both agreed that there are opportunities of bilateral collaboration for co-development and co-production,” said Rajnath Singh, adding that India is committed to building a robust partnership with Australia for security and growth of the entire region.